Three times this season, Trevor Lawrence has been questionable to play. He ended up suiting up the first two, and it looks like he'll do it once again when the Jacksonville Jaguars face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. Per, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Lawrence cleared protocol, so he'll be able to suit up.
Lawrence suffered a concussion during the loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. He played the whole game but later reported symptoms to the medical staff. The third-year quarterback missed practice two days but participated Friday. Heading into the game, he had gotten the questionable tag, along with cornerback Tyson Campbell, safety Andre Cisco, and tight end Brenton Strange.
With Lawrence getting clearance, the Jaguars will have almost a full deck. Head coach Doug Pederson told the media Friday that he was optimistic about Campbell, Cisco, and Strange playing. During his exchange with the local media, Pederson said he felt like Lawrence's odds of playing were better than those of a coin flip. Also, the team didn't rule him out at any point, so they must've felt good about his chances of playing.
Had Lawrence not been cleared, C.J. Beathard would've gotten the nod. He got more reps than usual in practice, but said that otherwise, his preparation ahead of game day hadn't changed much.
Lawrence suffered a knee injury in Week 6, and his status for the Thursday Night Football bout against the New Orleans Saints was in question. He ultimately played, just like he did just one week after suffering an ankle sprain late in the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
The Jaguars will have Trevor Lawrence vs. the Buccaneers, they cannot afford to lose
Just a few days ago, Ian Rapoport reported that Trevor Lawrence was unlikely to play. His reasoning was that he hadn't practiced Wednesday or Thursday, even though it's not a requisite to practice to play. All he needed was to get medical clearance.
With Lawrence getting cleared, the Jaguars have no excuses now. At 8-3, they find themselves in a three-way tie with the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts. They're currently in first place in the AFC South but a loss to the Buccaneers would let either the Colts or Houston get ahead of them.
Now more than ever, the offensive line will need to give Lawrence enough time to throw the ball. Similarly, wide receiver Calvin Ridley and tight end Evan Engram will have to show out. This will be particularly important when you take into account that Zay Jones is dealing with a groin injury and won't likely play. On defense, Jacksonville will need to play disciplined football, pressure Baker Mayfield, and shut down the running game. Forcing a few turnovers would most definitely help.
With three weeks left in the season, the Jaguars don't have much margin for error. Beating Tampa Bay will keep their hopes for a playoff spot and a second division title in a row alive. Having Trevor Lawrence behind center should help.